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Use Songs to Introduce Comprehension Strategies

September 10, 2019

When preparing for yearlong reading instruction, it’s important to establish an understanding of the seven comprehension strategies. An intentional introduction of the comprehension strategies can be achieved using verbal definitions, visual icons, physical gestures, mentor texts, and more. To reach the musical-rhythmic learners, teachers also utilize the comprehension songs developed by Smekens Education.

Fashioned after popular nursery rhymes, each of the seven songs explains the comprehension strategy in kid-friendly vocabulary.

For example, “Retelling & Summarizing Ideas” lists the required scaffold of skills. Using the tune “Ring Around the Rosie,” students learn to recall numerous details, retell them in order, and then eventually to summarize only the most important.

The lyrics for “Ask Questions” remind students to be engaged and wonder while reading. But the final line of the lyrics reinforces that the teacher does not provide the answers. Rather students should read on so you’ll know.

There are seven comprehension songs in total–one for Making Inferences in general and six more for the various comprehension strategies.

  • Retelling/Summarizing Ideas
  • Determining Main Ideas
  • Creating Visualizations
  • Ask Questions
  • Make Connections
  • Synthesize Ideas

Download a free set of 8.5″ x 11″ mini-posters that include the lyrics to all seven songs. There are also audio files of each song being sung by an adult male, an adult female, and a children’s choir with instruments. These are available for purchase as digital downloads from The Literacy Store.

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